ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Bob Quinn knew there would be more pressure on him this year than ever before. It was his first as the Detroit Lions' general manager, and although he had been a veteran of the New England Patriots' draft room, this was different.
He was the one making the call.
So Quinn leaned on an old pastime to help pass the time and calm the nerves: He swung a wood baseball bat recently given to him by a friend.
“I got a baseball bat as a gift a couple days ago and I had that kind of in my hand during the draft,” Quinn said. “And kind of took my fidgety hands and spent the time that way.”
In a draft room that had Quinn, team president Rod Wood, head coach Jim Caldwell, team owner Martha Ford and director of player personnel Kyle O’Brien sitting in white chairs, it was still going to be Quinn’s call on who to pick at the end.
That left him with different emotions than he had felt previously.
“Definitely a little more nerve-wracking leading up to your pick,” Quinn said. “You’re sitting there hoping a guy’s there and you’re not quite sure what’s going to happen the picks before you. In years' past, you kind of sit back and you’re a part of it, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t stop with you and this year I felt very prepared.
“I thank my staff for that and the coaches and the scouts for helping me prepare for this moment and at the end of the day, it wasn’t a hard pick. It was a guy we had talked about at length and really felt good about the pick.”
The pick ended up being a player who filled a massive need for the Lions -- Ohio State offensive tackle Taylor Decker.
While Quinn wouldn’t say who was in the draft room, in pictures on the Lions' website, Quinn was seated between Wood and Caldwell. Next to Caldwell was Ford – who Quinn ended up high-fiving at one point during the evening – and next to Ford were two of her daughters, Sheila Ford Hamp and Martha Ford Morse.
Lance Newmark was next to O’Brien at a table behind Quinn and Caldwell and next to Newmark was Matt Harriss, the team’s main salary-cap guy.